Sunday, April 29, 2018

William Blake (verse) and Sir Hubert Parry (score), Jerusalem

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

- William Blake, Jerusalem
William Blake was a revolutionary, a supporter of the French revolution, and was actually tried (and acquitted) of High Treason and Sedition in 1804 England.  Considered borderline mad by his contemporaries, he became highly regarded in later years.  His writings became a core of the Fabian Socialists, and this hymn (put to music in 1916 by Sir Hubert Parry) became a favorite with working class socialists.

And still is today.  Socialist Review opens their article on the hymn with this:
For Danny Boyle, on the left, Jerusalem created the opportunity to include industrial workers in the Olympic opening ceremony. For David Cameron, on the right, Jerusalem is an expression of distinctively English nationhood. For many ordinary people Jerusalem offers a welcome alternative to the depressing, jingoist dirge of God Save the Queen.

Jerusalem is open to many interpretations. William Blake was a complex character and his works can be difficult to read - but one thing Blake was not was a nationalist of any kind. He was a revolutionary.
This hymn is more complicated for today's left to swallow because of the Nationalist themes.  In contrast, Beethoven's annexation of Schiller's Ode To Joy in his Ninth Symphony is universalist and so is acceptable to socialist organizations like the Olympics or the European Union, both of which have adopted it as their anthem.  International organizations must needs adopt universalist symbols.

But in Britain, no such constraints are felt, and since the triumph of socialism in that land is complete, this hymn remains popular.  It touches a deep nerve, and the words fail describe the never sleeping mania of the Left:
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land.
Scientists and experts would plan, and workers would compete with zeal, until the New Jerusalem stood in England's green and pleasant land.  That was the ideal.

The reality is, if not quite as grotesque as the other socialist experiments behind the Iron Curtain and elsewhere, plenty grotesque.  A bumbling National Health Service is revered by the populace as it intentionally kills their children.  Attempts by desperate parents to seek care outside England's green and pleasant land are blocked by police; the Sword indeed does not sleep in their hand.  It's not enough that the NHS doesn't provide care, no others must be allowed to either.

And so the New Jerusalem is indeed built, but it is a ruin.  It is perhaps best described by another English poet who lived a century after Blake.  In The Wasteland, T. S. Eliot painted a very different vision of England's future.  It's a little uncanny how the opening line is extra poignant today:
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
But he is only warming up.  Here is his vision of the New Jerusalem that was being built, even as he wrote:
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.
The NHS remains quite popular despite the furious sacrifice of toddlers on Socialism's altar.  The national propaganda effort has borne fruit, although like propaganda in all mature socialist societies it is very strange:
Theodore Dalrymple explained this well.

"In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to," he wrote.
Yet another English author, C. S. Lewis explains the poisoned fruit of the Fabian Socialists who now rule the realm and who direct the NHS:
We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
But at least the public holds the NHS in high esteem.  England is screwed.  The English people are screwed, but at least they seem to like it.  Pretty music, though, and nice pictures of a land now lost.  Pictures from an England that is in the place that Great Britain used to be.


libertyman said...

I believe I finally found the artist who sings this! Lesley Garrett.

I heard this years ago while driving in NY and could not find the source. Thank you Siri for listening to this and finding Lesley Garrett.

Yes. it would make a good anthem though few could sing it as she does.

Great post today.

Borepatch said...

Libertyman, thanks. I'm afraid this was a little ranty, but this situation has really gotten under my skin.

Differ said...

Mine too, brother.

Glen Filthie said...

What those kippered bastards did to Alfie was an act of war, BP. If that happened in my neighbourhood I would try and raise a posse and go to that hospital with baseball bats. And guns if the pigs decided to get stupid.

They've set that up here in Canada and we are a few swirls behind Britain as we go down that same crapper. Some people seriously need to get shot for stuff like this.

LSP said...

Thanks for the TSE and CSL.

England's still there, but it sure is overlayed by commie garbage. That'll break down at some point, when they run out of cash, and things will get nasty.